New book chapter on begging call mimicry

Apr 15, 2018

diederik chick
Begging calls provide nestling brood parasites with a powerful and flexible tool for avoiding rejection, altering parental provisioning and competing with host nestmates. Despite much research into the topic, no synthesis of parasite vocal strategies for host manipulation has yet been made. In a recently-published book chapter, Gabriel Jamie and Rebecca Kilner review the literature on mimicry of host begging calls by avian brood parasites. They show that this is a more widespread phenomenon than previously appreciated and outline the selective forces that can lead to its evolution. Finally, they propose a theoretical framework to explain variation in the way brood parasite begging calls develop. They suggest that the mode of development can be predicted from a consideration of the accuracy of genetic cues (as mediated by parasite specialisation levels), and the benefits to the young parasite of using environmental cues to modulate their begging call (as influenced by levels of discrimination shown by host parents).

News

New paper on host-specific mimicry by indigobird and whydah chicks

In a new paper published in Evolution, Dr Gabriel Jamie along with Silky Hamama, Collins Moya and Prof. Claire Spottiswoode from the African Cuckoos team and collaborators from University of Puerto Rico (Steven Van Belleghem), Princeton University (Dr Cassie Stoddard and Dr Ben Hogan) and University of Cambridge (Professor Rebecca Kilner) provide evidence of host-specific mimicry in the indigobirds and whydahs of Africa. Building on the pioneering work of Robert Payne and Jürgen Nicolai, they provide quantitative evidence that nestling Vidua finches mimic the patterns, colours and begging calls of their host’s nestling, and qualitative evidence of mimicry of host movements.

Pick of the month in Trends in Ecology and Evolution

Dr Gabriel Jamie and Dr Joana Meier’s paper “The Persistence of Polymorphisms across Species Radiations” has been selected by Trends in Ecology and Evolution as the journal Editor’s pick of the month. Read the full paper here: https://tinyurl.com/y29l4ygr

Launching Honeyguiding.me for all bird enthusiasts in Africa!

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